Sunday, December 7, 2014

The overarching desire to be obeyed

Roger Gathman follows me in saying the the least reform would be special prosecutors for police violence cases.  Also, he compares the shooting by Daniel Harmon-Wright to that of Darren Wilson.  In the former case the police officer's claim to self-defense was contradicted by eye witnesses, and those eye witnesses were believed.  Underlying both cases, RG believes, was the Officers desire to be obeyed:

The Ferguson case, which hinged on Wilson’s claim that he felt his life was endangered, can be paralleled by a case that was tried just last year of a Culpepper Virginia policeman who killed a sunday school teacher, Patricia Cook. The policeman, Daniel Harmon-Wright, claimed that when he reached in her car window to take her license, she rolled up the window and took off. Thus, he shot her – seven times – because otherwise he would have been dragged to death. This seems more life threatening that anything that happened to Wilson. The difference was that eye witnesses, in the Harmon-Wright case, were believed, and they asserted that Harmon-Wright’s hand was not trapped in that window, and that he simply unloaded when she took off in her car. She was “escaping” him, just as Michael Brown was escaping Wilson, and the automatic response was shoot to kill. In fact, with a special prosecutor, I think Wilson’s claim of being threatened would be broken down in court – and what would be left was the overwhelming desire to be obeyed. However, there are limits on how police can achieve that last goal.

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